Dubai: “Dubai Marathon will be bigger next year. We will invest more money in the marathon and probably increase the prize money too,” remarked Mattar Al Tayer, Vice-President of the Dubai Sports Council after Saturday’s extravaganza.
“We are delighted to see such huge participation, with more than 4,000 people participating compared to last year. For this marathon, which began with just 50 runners in 1998, it is a huge jump and shows how successful this race has proved over the years,” added Al Tayer.
“We have a lot of surprises next year. Though the weather wasn’t that good this year, we are happy with the timings. This is a great course and we are expecting better timings in the coming years,” he said.
Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Ahmad Al Sharif, the Secretary-General of the Dubai Sports Council, said: “Dubai Marathon has grown with Dubai, which has today new buildings, new roads and greater facilities. We want the Dubai Marathon to be the best and we at the Sports Council will work to see that the participation crosses the 50,000 mark soon.”
Al Sharif also announced that Sports Council will provide bigger support to the Dubai Marathon. “We are providing financial, logistical and technical assistance now. We will now work towards making the Dubai Marathon the best in the world,” he said.
Peter Connerton, the Dubai Marathon Event Director, said: “It is indeed splendid to see for the first time five men runners finish under 2:05. It shows that we are pushing marathon running to the limit, and I am sure we will have better times next year. Through the large turnout, we have created another record this year.”
The Dubai Marathon also provided another opportunity for wheelchair contestants to showcase their skills. British wheelchair competitor Rob Smith bagged the Wheelchair Open gold medal and set a new British record of 2:06:45s for the T52 Wheelchair Class. His record came despite him finding it hard to push the wheels due to condensation.
“My arms are aching, but I’m so happy to have broken the British record in the class and set a new personal best,” said Smith.